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Also known as viscoelastic foam, memory foam contours in response to heat and pressure. The material provides a supportive, pressure-relieving cradle that makes it ideal for use in pillows.
Memory foam pillows can be solid or shredded, and many of the best pillows today feature cooling techniques to battle the heat retention that was typical of traditional memory foam. Pillows made of this moldable and highly versatile material are widely available in all budgets.
Whether you suffer from neck pain or whether you’re simply looking for a pillow that will support your spine and help you get a better night’s sleep, look no further. We’ve rounded up some of our top picks and compiled a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best memory foam pillow.
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Tempur-Pedic was the first company to use memory foam in its mattresses and continues to be one of the biggest names in the industry. The TEMPUR-Cloud Dual Breeze one-piece memory foam pillow boasts the supreme pressure relief that is the company’s hallmark. However, this pillow takes it up a notch with gel layers on either side of the pillow to keep it cool. A removable and washable 100% cotton knit cover provides a soft and breathable surface.
The pillow has a 6.4-inch loft, which sinks down a little as the memory foam slowly compresses under the head. Due to this high loft and medium feel, the Tempur-Cloud succeeds in providing a comfortable surface for side sleepers. The foam contours to fit the head and neck, maintaining the natural curvature of the spine while reducing pressure on the ears.
The Dual Breeze pillow is available in queen and king sizes. Tempurpedic offers free shipping but does not accept returns. Tempur-Pedic has established a reputation for high-quality memory foam sleep products and the Dual Breeze pillow should perform well for longer than the average memory foam pillow. To top it off, the company backs this pillow with a 5-year warranty.
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The Layla Memory Foam Pillow is an ideal choice for sleepers whose loft preferences vary from night to night. The pillow’s shredded memory foam fill is housed in a liner inside the cover. To change the loft and overall feel of the pillow, simply unzip the liner and add or remove the foam. Owners can contact Layla about buying more foam in bulk if they need to replenish their supply.
The memory foam conforms closely for targeted pain and pressure relief around the neck and shoulders. The pillow is also well-suited to hot sleepers. Air circulates more freely through the pillow core thanks to the shredded fill, and the foam absorbs less body heat compared to solid memory foam. Additionally, the pillow is easy to clean. The outer cover and inner liner with foam can be washed and dried in your household machines. Flattening may occur with use, so tumble drying the pillow can expand it back to its full shape. Queen and king sizes are available.
Layla offers free shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is backed by a 120-night sleep trial and a five-year warranty, both of which are longer than average.
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Most pillows are designed with a certain sleep position in mind based on their feel and thickness. The Muse Pillow is a notable exception because it is available in three different loft measurements. The low-profile 5-inch pillow is well suited to stomach sleepers, who often prefer thinner pillows, while the 6- and 7-inch models provide enough support and loft for side and back sleepers.
All versions of the Muse Pillow feature a top layer of shredded memory foam over a dense, solid memory foam base. The shredded fill contours gently and alleviates pressure throughout the head and neck, while the solid foam layer provides stability and support as well as added conforming. The cover is composed of phase-change material, which is engineered to dissipate heat away from the pillow and help the surface remain cool. The cover, which can be removed and machine washed, makes the Muse Pillow more comfortable for hot sleepers than many competing memory foam models.
Although cost depends on which loft you select, the Muse Pillow’s sticker price is very approachable considering its high-quality materials and construction. Muse Sleep offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is backed by a 60-night sleep trial and a three-year warranty.
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The Comfort Classic Pillow from Amerisleep is constructed with Bio-Pur, a proprietary memory foam material with a high-density to ensure great durability and long-lasting comfort. The pillow has a medium feel, so the foam will contour to a noticeable extent while also providing good overall support. The cover is made of soft polyester that offers good breathability and prevents the foam from absorbing excess body heat. The foam is also designed with ventilation channels for added cooling.
The pillow measures 6 inches thick, so it is best suited to side and back sleepers because these positions generally need more loft. Queen and king sizes are available. The cover is removable, and can be washed and dried in any household machine, but the foam never needs to be cleaned.
The Comfort Classic Pillow’s price-point is very reasonable, especially given its long expected lifespan. Amerisleep also provides free ground shipping to all customers in the lower 48 states. Although returns are not permitted after the order is complete, your pillow will be backed by a 10-year warranty that covers structural defects.
Best Adjustable Pillow
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The Saybrook Adjustable Pillow is another top pick that offers customizable loft. The pillow’s fill consists of Lion Down Alternative, a proprietary blend of shredded memory foam and down alternative clusters. New pillows arrive with about four pounds of fill, so you can remove as much as you need to achieve the desired thickness. You can also add more fill if you change your mind and want more loft. This adjustable design makes the pillow well suited to side and back sleepers, as well as combination sleepers who rely on both of these positions.
The Saybrook Adjustable Pillow also sleeps quite cool thanks to a cover made of breathable, silky-soft rayon from bamboo. Since the fill is shredded, the pillow also won’t absorb as much heat as a model that contains solid memory foam. The cover can be removed and laundered in your household machines.
The sticker price for the Saybrook Adjustable Pillow is on par with other models that allow customizable loft. Shipping is free for all orders within the contiguous U.S. and all pillows are delivered using reusable packaging. Saybrook offers full refunds on all returns within 30 days of the original purchase. Pillows returned in good condition are donated to charity.
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The Idle Gel Memory Foam Pillow offers exceptional temperature regulation. The pillow is constructed from a single piece of memory foam that is ventilated with small holes to promote air circulation. The holes are wider in the middle to create a soft, cradling surface for your head while smaller holes along the perimeter make the foam feel firmer and more supportive for your neck. This zoned design makes the pillow suitable for side and back sleepers, as well as anyone who frequently experiences neck and shoulder pain.
The foam is infused with cooling gel to draw heat away from your body. The pillow’s cover, made of rayon derived from bamboo in a velour knit, is also quite breathable, and the smooth fabric is optimal for people with sensitive skin. While the memory foam should only be spot cleaned, you can wash and dry the cover in any household machine. Queen and king sizes are available.
Idle Sleep provides free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Please note that all orders are final and the pillow cannot be returned at any point.
Best for Multiple Sleeping Positions
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The Casper Memory Foam pillow features a sophisticated design made with three layers of polyfoam and memory foam. A denser foam in the middle provides a supportive cradle for the head and neck, while the conforming outer layers add cushioning with a slow response to pressure. This gives the pillow a medium soft feel overall, without compromising on support. Overall, the pillow’s medium soft feel and average loft work best for back sleepers and some side sleepers.
Instead of relying on gel infusions, the Casper Memory Foam Pillow boosts airflow by perforating all three layers of foam and cutting air channels into the outside layers.
The pillow has a breathable jersey knit cover made of a polyester-spandex blend, with a 2-inch gusset. The cover is removable and machine-washable.
Unlike many of its competitors, Casper extends its 100-night sleep trial to its bedding and pillows, not just its mattresses. The pillow ships free to the continental U.S. and to some Canadian provinces. After the sleep trial, the pillow is backed by a 1-year limited warranty. The pillow is available in standard and king sizes.
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The Saatva Memory Foam Pillow is another great option for sleepers whose loft preferences change from night to night. It features a removable inner pillow made of graphite-infused memory foam, along with a shredded memory foam core. Simply remove the inner pillow to adjust the thickness and feel of the pillow.
The cover is composed of breathable organic cotton quilted with phase-change material, which helps the pillow maintain a cool temperature. As a result, this pillow is suitable for anyone who normally finds memory foam too hot. Air also circulates freely through the shredded core, and this foam is infused with gel to draw heat away from your body. The dual memory foam layers also ensure even conforming and relief for any aches and pains in your neck or shoulders.
The cover can be machine washed and dried, but spot cleaning is recommended for the inner memory foam pillow. Saatva offers free ground shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow can be returned within 45 days of delivery, even if it has been used or laundered. It is also backed by a one-year warranty against material defects.
Memory foam is popular in pillows because it molds to the head and neck, providing a supportive surface that can be shaped to the user’s liking. This close-conforming material is unrivaled in its ability to alleviate pressure points.
In this section, we’ll delve deeper into the pros and cons of memory foam and cover some of the most important aspects to look for when purchasing a memory foam pillow.
The market is flooded with manufacturers who tinker with their memory foam to give it different qualities, such as using gel infusions to achieve better temperature neutrality. Some proprietary foams do succeed in their aims, but it can be very difficult to tell before trying the pillow out for yourself.
Before you shop for a memory foam pillow, it’s important to understand the basics behind how they are constructed and what kind of options exist. Focusing on the following factors can help you see past the marketing hype to choose the best memory foam pillow for you.
Memory foam pillows come in two types: one-piece and shredded.
Here are some other factors to consider when buying your pillow:
Memory foam has unsurpassed contouring abilities that make it one of the best pillow materials for pressure relief and support. However, memory foam has some drawbacks as well, the most notable of which is its tendency to trap heat. The material also has a slow response to pressure that some people like, but that can be restrictive when changing positions.
Here are some of the major ways in which one-piece and shredded memory foam pillows differ:
Memory foam pillows are generally best suited to side sleepers, back sleepers, and anyone who suffers from neck pain or who prefers a pillow with a higher loft. While your perfect pillow will partly depend on your body type and personal preference, here are some general considerations for choosing a memory foam pillow according to sleep position and other factors.
Who is not suited:
Memory foam pillows typically come in the following sizes, although the exact dimensions may vary by manufacturer:
Decent memory foam pillows usually start around $50 and can go up to $150 or more. Prices vary depending on size, foam density and quality, cooling features, and other features such as special shapes or high-quality covers. Compared with other types of pillows, memory foam pillows are similar to latex pillows, cheaper than buckwheat or down pillows, and more expensive than polyester or down alternative pillows.
Some shredded memory foam pillows can be machine-washed, but most one-piece pillows are spot-clean only. It’s important to note that memory foam can get moldy if not allowed to dry properly, so go easy on the spot-cleaning and try not to get the pillow too wet. Many memory foam pillows have removable covers that can be machine-washed.
Memory foam pillows are commonly available online as well as in many brick-and-mortar stores.
The average lifespan of a memory foam pillow is 2-3 years, which is longer than down alternative pillows but not as long as down, latex, or buckwheat pillows.
Even the best memory foam pillows eventually lose their integrity. One-piece pillows start to develop permanent indentations, and shredded memory foam pillows become lumpy. While higher-density memory foam tends to be more durable than lower-density memory foam, the downside is that higher-density memory foam also traps more heat.
Regular cleaning and fluffing can help prolong the longevity of a shredded memory foam pillow. Since one-piece pillows are prone to developing mildew when wet, the best you can do is keep them as clean as possible and wash the pillowcase regularly.
Most shredded memory foam pillows offer users the opportunity to adjust the loft by adding or removing filler, and some one-piece pillows have removable inserts. Shredded memory foam pillows can also be scrunched into different shapes if the shape of the cover allows. Many pillows come with gussets meant to help keep the contents in place.
Yes, memory foam is a synthetic material that will release some off-gassing odors. These are the result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being released into the air. While they are considered harmless, people who are sensitive to smell may find off-gassing odors bothersome, especially with the material so close to their face. If this sounds like you, try to look for a pillow that’s certified by a third-party organization for low emissions, and let the pillow air out in a well-ventilated space for a few days or even a few weeks before using it.
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